DeFazio tours Roseburg VA campus

The congressman visited the campus to get an update on the progress there after a recent change in direction.

Posted: May 29, 2018 6:17 PM
Updated: May 29, 2018 6:26 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Roseburg Veterans Affairs campus received a visit from Congressman Peter Defazio on Tuesday.

The Congressman met with Interim VA Director David Whitmer to catch up on the happenings at the Roseburg VA.

This comes after an investigation into the Roseburg VA earlier this year found evidence of serious problems with employee management and intimidation, medical care, and inadequate resources.

He toured the campus and spoke with leaders of local veterans chapters, such as the Women Veterans, American Legion, and Umpqua Community College Veterans.

Their tour took them to the new Acute Psych Unit, which opened in April of 2016.

Interim Director Whitmer said with him now being four months into his assignment as the temporary director, Defazio just wanted to check in on things.

“I think he just wanted a summary of the things we’ve done so far and the changes that we’re making going forward. But I also had an opportunity to show him where we plan to dedicate about fifteen acres of land for the state to build a home here on our campus.”

The group also toured the Residential Rehab Treatment Program.

Defazio wrapped up his tour with a meeting with a World War II Veteran with an incredible story.

World War II Veteran and Bataan survivor Glen Kuskie met with Defazio in the canteen at the Roseburg VA campus.

Kuskie talked with the congressman, sharing insights about his service in the Philippines and becoming a Japanese prisoner of war for three years before escaping, and floating back to the Philippines on a cargo door.

He shared his Philippine Veterans of America medal with Defazio, and the congressman returned the gesture by presenting him with an American flag.

“I’m going to donate it to my home over there, and they can fly it on the holidays,” said Kuskie.

The flag was flown over the United States Capitol Building on May 24 of this year.

Defazio will be able to take his findings back to the Capitol to update leadership on the progress of the Roseburg VA campus.

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